Whitehorse Daily Star

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Coun. Ted Laking

Councillor wonders if federal lands available for housing

A Whitehorse councillor gave a “Ted” talk Monday evening on how the city could tackle its housing problems.

By T.S. Giilck on September 21, 2023

A Whitehorse councillor gave a “Ted” talk Monday evening on how the city could tackle its housing problems.

Coun. Ted Laking asked some pointed questions on the availability of federal properties in the city that could potentially be used as new locations for housing projects.

Laking asked city staff why some of these properties hadn’t been considered for use under a federal program, including one on Range Road.

Laking said there is a federal strategy to “divest lands in municipalities across the country that are either under-utilized or better utilized as housing.

“I know there is some early thinking by the city about this.”

In particular, Laking said, he was thinking of a large piece of property next to the Takhini Arena with a federal government building on it.

He said “that’s a lot of space there that could potentially be used for housing.”

City manager Jeff O’Farrell said the city was “excited” about the concept to begin with.

“We looked into it, and initially believed there was some prospect that Range Road location could be made available, but further inquiries showed us the options were somewhat limited.”

Mike Gau, the director of development services, said the city had a visit from federal officials to talk about the program but the property at 419 Range Rd. was not on the list of eligible properties for housing purposes.

He added he was told the officials would take the request back to their superiors to discuss the matter further, but no additional conversation has taken place.

Laking questioned why the property is not available.

“It was seen to be still in use,” Gau said.

Another lot just off Range Road near the old military barracks is available to the city, he added.

Laking also questioned staff about other properties not necessarily owned by the federal government, including the old, vacant Dairy Queen property on Second Avenue. The outlet closed in 2007, and the building was later used for other purposes.

Gau said his department should be hearing a report from a panel examining the question sometime in November, with perhaps some policy directions coming in the new year.

Comments (2)

Up 46 Down 12

Politico on Sep 21, 2023 at 4:00 pm

Ted is always great at asking questions but short on follow up. Why doesn't he do the research on why these lands are not available. He is, after all, a big time local politician. It should be easy for him to get answers. Speaking of follow up Ted, hows the parking problems in Whitehorse and the traffic issues. Remember the ones you were so hot to get other people to find solutions for the issues you saw!

Up 21 Down 26

Josey Wales on Sep 21, 2023 at 2:46 pm

Gee...like in Russia, communist housing...great idea comrade.
What a civic twit

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